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Teaching American Political Institutions Using Role-playing Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  35 Sample Testimony The following is an example of the type of real-world testimony that students in groups 2-6 were required to read in order to prepare their own 2-3 minute statement. Dr. Laurie Zoloth, Director/Professor, Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University Mr. Chairman, Senators: My name is Laurie Zoloth, and I am a professor of bioethics and religion in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics program, and director of bioethics at the Center for Genetic Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Illinois. I want to thank the committee for asking us to testify about the ethical issues in human embryonic cell research, and tell you why my University and many of the organizations in which I serve—the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the AAAS, the NAS, support and encourage human embryonic stem cell research. First, for it is part of our broad commitment to the translation of basic medical research into the great moral enterprise of healing—serving the public’s health is the core moral gesture of the medicine we teach. Second, we support stem cell research as a free academic activity, like free speech, that must be protected and sustained in our University and that must be both funded and regulated in full view of the public. As I wrote this speech, my 10th grader was also writing a speech about stem cells—I note this not tangentially, nor merely to remind that I am a mother of five, and I, like each of you, worry about the sort of moral universe I will leave to my children, but to stress how central this debate has become in our American democracy—it is the subject of how we speak of healing and our duty to heal, and it is the subject when we speak of human dignity, and it is how we express our hope and our fear of the future. Stem cells are important in this way because of the serious rumor of hope they carry for millions of yearning patients and families. As an early watcher of the science of stem cells, I have listened carefully to the excitement of the researchers, and while ethicists urge caution and avoid hyperbolic claims, most ethicists are convinced that the sincerity and veracity of a growing body of evidence about how these cells can be coaxed into useful tissue, and how these cells can explain the very nature of how cells grow, change and divide and die—in short, how disease plays out at the cellular level—is stunningly important. If even some of what we are told to hope for is correct, then how we think about illness and injury will be transformed. So why do ethical considerations stop full funding of this science? I would argue that there are three issues: where we get the cell, how we get the cell and what we use them for. First, is the issue of the origins of the cells, which means the moral status of the human blastocyst—can we destroy blastocysts, made in the lab, for any purpose? Can we do it for medical research and why or why not? Second is the process that researchers need to get eggs and sperm donated fairly and safely and responsibly, and handled with dignity. How are women’s special needs protected? How do we protect human subjects in the first stages of this research? Finally, if researchers can find successful therapies, how will good goals of medicine be protected, and access to the therapies be fair? Can we come to agreement on the proper ends of medicine? Stem cells are interesting to ethicists for precisely the same reason that they are intriguing to the market--they represent a therapeutic intervention that, unlike heart transplants, could be universally available, replicable and scaleable. If the daunting problems of histocompatibility can be overcome, embryonic stem cells could be made universally acceptable to any body. Unlike adult stem cells, which would have to be created each time for each particular user, the premise of application is the wide use. Bioethicists defend high intensity interventions like organ transplant, which have saved,

Authors: Gonzales, Angelo.
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background image
35
Sample Testimony
The following is an example of the type of real-world testimony that students in groups 2-6 were
required to read in order to prepare their own 2-3 minute statement.
Dr. Laurie Zoloth, Director/Professor, Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University

Mr. Chairman, Senators:
My name is Laurie Zoloth, and I am a professor of bioethics and religion in the Medical Humanities and
Bioethics program, and director of bioethics at the Center for Genetic Medicine at the Feinberg School of
Medicine, Northwestern University in Illinois. I want to thank the committee for asking us to testify about
the ethical issues in human embryonic cell research, and tell you why my University and many of the
organizations in which I serve—the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the International Society for Stem
Cell Research, the AAAS, the NAS, support and encourage human embryonic stem cell research. First,
for it is part of our broad commitment to the translation of basic medical research into the great moral
enterprise of healing—serving the public’s health is the core moral gesture of the medicine we teach.
Second, we support stem cell research as a free academic activity, like free speech, that must be
protected
and sustained in our University and that must be both funded and regulated in full view of the
public.
As I wrote this speech, my 10th grader was also writing a speech about stem cells—I note this not
tangentially, nor merely to remind that I am a mother of five, and I, like each of you, worry about the sort
of moral universe I will leave to my children, but to stress how central this debate has become in our
American democracy—it is the subject of how we speak of healing and our duty to heal, and it is the
subject when we speak of human dignity, and it is how we express our hope and our fear of the future.
Stem cells are important in this way because of the serious rumor of hope they carry for millions of
yearning patients and families.
As an early watcher of the science of stem cells, I have listened carefully
to the excitement of the researchers, and while ethicists urge caution and avoid hyperbolic claims, most
ethicists are convinced that the sincerity and veracity of a growing body of evidence about how these cells
can be coaxed into useful tissue, and how these cells can explain the very nature of how cells grow,
change and divide and die—in short, how disease plays out at the cellular level—is stunningly important.
If even some of what we are told to hope for is correct, then how we think about illness and injury will be
transformed.
So why do ethical considerations stop full funding of this science? I would argue that there are
three issues: where we get the cell, how we get the cell and what we use them for.
First, is the issue of
the origins of the cells, which means the moral status of the human blastocyst—can we destroy
blastocysts, made in the lab, for any purpose? Can we do it for medical research and why or why not?
Second is the process that researchers need to get eggs and sperm donated fairly and safely and
responsibly, and handled with dignity. How are women’s special needs protected? How do we protect
human subjects in the first stages of this research? Finally, if researchers can find successful therapies,
how will good goals of medicine be protected, and access to the therapies be fair? Can we come to
agreement on the proper ends of medicine?
Stem cells are interesting to ethicists for precisely the same reason that they are intriguing to the
market--they represent a therapeutic intervention that, unlike heart transplants, could be
universally available, replicable and scaleable
. If the daunting problems of histocompatibility can be
overcome, embryonic stem cells could be made universally acceptable to any body. Unlike adult stem
cells, which would have to be created each time for each particular user, the premise of application
is the wide use.
Bioethicists defend high intensity interventions like organ transplant, which have saved,


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